Nowadays, it’s a sad but true fact that spyware and adware programs are a far greater threat to your internet security than the dreaded computer viruses. Indeed, spyware, adware and other so-called malware (such as key loggers and trojan horses) actually constitute the biggest single online threat to your privacy and the security of your data.
It’s also a major reason for system slowdowns on computers, as these types of programs generally use up precious system resources including RAM (memory) and hard drive space.
So, let’s look at some basic facts about spyware and adware, where these programs come from, what they are, and what you can do about protecting yourself.
Spyware comes in various guises and forms, but basically, it is a program or piece of information that is secretly placed on your computer, that sends data about you or your computer habits to someone else on the Internet, without your knowledge. This can be a company that is collecting data, or a thief seeking to steal access to your computer or the information held in your database (passwords, credit card details and so on).
Spyware can also be a program that places unwanted ads on your computer, often in the form of a malicious cookie. A cookie is a little piece of information placed in your web browser to track your web habits, which, in its more generally benign form, is useful as, for example, a web site can see you have visited it before and let you on without a registration process. Again, in its more benign guise, a cookie can help you by keeping track of your progress through a web store. They are also used to customize website ads to your likes and dislikes.
But, obviously, when they are used for spyware or adware purposes, a cookie is not a welcome guest on your PC!
Spyware programs can get into your computer in several different ways. Sometimes they arrive as an automatic download from a website you are surfing. Porn and online gambling sites are notorious for this, for example.
Sometimes, if you download a free or illegal piece of software, they are embedded in the installation process, or spyware can get on your computer via an email attachment that you shouldn’t have opened. (Tip here – if an e-mail comes from an unrecognized source with an attachment, DO NOT open it – it’s almost guaranteed to be some sort of program that you definitely don’t want!)
Spyware and adware are bad news for several reasons:
They hog precious system resources like memory and hard disk space. If you computer runs much slower than it did previously, then it probably is infected with spyware. If you have never done a spyware scan, then it’s almost guaranteed that there is spyware on your system slowing things down.
They can seriously compromise your privacy and security, providing outsiders with information about your computer habits. For example, by installing a keylogger, spyware can capture your keystrokes and send it to a third party.
This can potentially expose your user IDs and passwords to thieves.
Other program such as trojans which allows someone to log into your computer remotely and use it for their own purposes like sending spam or launching malicious attacks on other computers on the Internet, making it look like you are at fault.
So, it’s bad! Let’s look at how to get rd of it.
There are lots of both paid and free anti-spyware programs out there, and, like all things in life, some are better than others. The question often asked is, which is better, a free program or a paid one.
The simple answer is that the best approach is a combination of the two, and, unlike anti-virus programs, you can run more than one anti-spyware program on your system without any problems.
First thing to do is to install the totally free Spybot Search and Destroy program, which will eliminate 70-85 per cent of all known spyware.
The, invest a little money in a good paid program like Spyware Doctor, NoAdware or Spyware Nuker to complete the job for you. Yes, I know that it means spending some money, but if it can prevent someone stealing your credit card details, for example, then it’s a sure fire thing that its going to be money well spent.
Another advantage of the paid programs is that they generally have a more effective “pro-active” nature to them than the free programs do. In other words, they are usually far better at stopping spyware and adware actually getting into your PC in the first place, and, clearly, preventing the problem is far easier and less time consuming than having to deal with it once your PC becomes infected. To read more, http://webbiz99.com/spywareadware/